There are a few things in this world that really make me thank Mother Nature for….Rhubarb is one of those things. A truly wonderful gift to the culinary world.
Seeing those first few crimson red stalks poking up through the earth after a long, cold winter make me jump for joy while reaching for the pie dish at the same time, which makes me wonder….is it a vegetable? Or is it a fruit?
After a few minutes of googling, I found out it is neither. The tart and tasty rhubarb is an herbaceous perennial plant that thrives in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere’s across the globe and along with Asparagus, is one of the first harbingers of Spring.
The stalks of the rhubarb plant are mostly used for desserts, but recently, there has been an increased focus in savory applications as well as pickling or drying. I remember being a child and heading out to our patch in the backyard and breaking off a large stalk, running into the kitchen to wash it off and then grabbing a small dixie cup of sugar …dip, bite, dip, bite, dip, bite….until it was gone. My brothers and I thought this was a great treat, better than cookies even.
Are you drooling yet? No? You will soon, just keep reading…
Today I mainly use rhubarb in pies and jam, and rhubarb has a perfect partner with the strawberry. A delectable union of sweet and tartness. The pairing of the two into a pie or crumble is the quintessential summer picnic dessert.
Strawberry ~ Rhubarb Pie Filling
2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp butter
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the butter; mix well. Place filling in a prepared pie crust shell, dot with the butter and top with the upper crust, crimp and seal edges.
Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes. If edges of crust is browning too quickly, cover with foil.